Whether you are a resident or fellow seeking your first job out of training or a seasoned mid-career professional looking to make a savvy career move, time management is a job search necessity. What if you could research and meet with multiple employers in less than four hours without leaving home? Thanks to the AAN Neurology Career Center, the Virtual Career Fair offers immediate access to launch or jump-start any job search.
Virtual career fairs have been around for several years but have grown in popularity since the pandemic made in-person job fairs (temporarily) obsolete. Both the process and results can be impressive. By setting aside time in advance, a candidate could potentially research up to 100 open positions offered by 40 employers. If interested in a position, the neurologist connects virtually with the employer in a Zoom break-out room for an initial interview and potentially moves the search forward.
When it comes to putting the candidate in the driver’s seat, nothing else compares. The candidate chooses the time commitment based on their schedule (up to four hours), the job opportunities to pursue (Academic? Practice? Research?), the preferred technology (desktop or mobile) and interview format (phone or video).
Starting a tradition with in-person career fairs
The tradition of gathering job seekers and employers in one room goes back decades and has barely changed in that time. Employers staff booths while candidates stroll past trying not to look too eager as they scan for the most enticing display or best tchotchkes imprinted with clinic names.
While in-person career fairs can bring large numbers of job candidates and employers together, they are not always a perfect fit for everyone. Unless you reside in a major city, travel and time off are required to participate. This represents a hardship, especially for residents and fellows working long hours on a limited salary.
Privacy is another concern. In-person job fairs are typically held in large, public exhibit halls. Anyone strolling through the event can view you chatting up the recruiter with a rival hospital system. It can be quite awkward for a mid-career physician who would rather not be spotted by a colleague while inquiring about open positions elsewhere. In the virtual career fair environment, no one can see what opportunities the individual candidate is pursuing.
Virtual Career Fairs—innovation driven by the pandemic
The AAN Neurology Career Center Virtual Career Fair is a breakthrough solution to the problems of time, travel, and privacy that have plagued the neurology job seeker in years past. As Amy Schoch, senior manager of AAN Career Services, explains, “The Virtual Career Fair isn’t meant to replace the on-site interview experience. Instead, it lets the busy physician conduct initial interviews and explore opportunities without having to travel. It helps expedite the job search process and ultimately helps transition participants from candidate to new hire during a much shorter timeline.”
Indeed, by attending a virtual career fair where 40 or more employers might be represented, the physician job seeker can “travel” to all parts of the country, exploring more options, speaking with recruiters for major hospital systems, private practices, and multi-specialty clinics all in the same day. As Schoch notes, “It’s an unprecedented way to compare different work settings or employers in real time, when the conversations are still fresh in your mind.”
Is there any downside to the virtual career fair process? According to Schoch, the only downside can be candidate reluctance. “It’s pretty common for physicians to put off their job search,” she says. “They’re busy and it can be overwhelming. But this is a way to really move forward with a limited time commitment and no expense. You know you need to do the job search. Just reserve the time on your calendar for the Virtual Career Fair and move the needle forward now.”
Getting started—a simple process
The AAN Virtual Career Fairs are held four times in a calendar year, usually in conjunction with a meeting like the Annual Meeting or Fall Conference. Events are usually four hours in length, from afternoon to early evening. Candidates are encouraged to participate whenever they can—whether it is 15 minutes or the full four hours, any time commitment can easily move your job search forward.
Registration is free and optional for candidates. No login is required to participate. Sign up if you want to receive reminders for the upcoming Virtual Career Fair; otherwise, block off the time on your calendar. Participant information is never shared with participating employers.
New Virtual Career Fair event dates are posted on the AAN calendar, in the Neurology Career Center biweekly email, and on the Career Center Events page.
Success is easy!
Plan for success on the day of the event by completing (or updating) a Career Center profile. Don’t forget to upload a copy of your current CV. If you do not have a current CV, AAN members can purchase a CV Review. Allow time for the revised CV—the review process can take up to four weeks.
New to, or uncomfortable with, video interviewing? Phone interviews are an option during the event, or visit careers.aan.com/careers to find helpful tips on video interviewing. and conquer camera angles, lighting, and apparel in any setting.
If time permits, job seekers can preview participating event employers and available positions by completing a Job Alert. Save keywords “Virtual Career Fair” to receive notification when new employers sign up for the Virtual Career Fair or add new jobs.